Move over David Letterman, here are society’s “Top Ten” reasons to separate what God has joined together.
When Jesus was grilled by the religious leaders regarding his position on the controversial subject of legitimate reasons for divorce, He left no wiggle room for humanistic rationalizations: “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” It is a clear sign of the breakdown of society when the fundamental building block of marriage is discarded so easily with no shame or remorse. Hawthorne’s great classic, The Scarlet Letter would not resonate with readers today because adultery hardly causes anyone to raise their eyebrows.
To try to bring some focus to the absurdity of today’s culture of “Throw away love” and broken marriage covenants, I thought it would be revealing to expose society’s “Top Ten” reasons for divorce:
10. There is really nothing to separate because despite our long-term sexual relationship we never formally entered the covenant bond of marriage. What we enjoyed was just a long-term “shacking up” together. Let’s get rid of the problem by elevating fornication to the level of a legitimate relationship without the bondage of any obligations or commitment. How about this for a book title: Shacking Up – The Smart Girl’s Guide to Living in Sin Without Getting Burned. I guess someone forgot to read the book of Proverbs!
9. “Oops, I made a stupid mistake” – reducing divorce to something akin to taking a mulligan on the golf course. In other words, “Let’s just have a “do-over.” Let’s annul things and pretend the marriage never happened. That brings to mind Britney Spears’ lightning quick annulment. Marriage was never intended to be a “Try it and see if you like it” option.
8. “The Pressure is just too great” – Could be talking about Mental, Physical, or Emotional Abuse . . . Could be talking about Financial Pressure . . . Could be talking about other External Pressures (like relationships in the extended family, etc.). The picture here is of pent-up steam seeking its release. Not much can be said here other than that God’s grace is sufficient if we will only humble ourselves and seek our rest and peace in Him.
7. “Unfaithfulness on the part of my spouse” – Here most Christian counselors and evangelical churches make an allowance for some type of “legitimate” biblical loophole. Without trying to prove the point here, I would just say that the disciples understood the words of Christ to be absolute: “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” (Matthew 19:10) It does seem odd to me that someone who drives his/her spouse to the point of seeking satisfaction elsewhere would therefore be released from the marriage bond that would otherwise limit his/her freedom. (I am not saying that adultery is always the fault of the other spouse … far from it.)
6. “Our sexual relationship is no longer meeting my needs” – Any time we pervert God’s creation into a man-centered universe instead of a God-centered universe we arrive at faulty conclusions.
5. “We are no longer in love so it would be a sham to continue in the relationship. We need to be honest with our true feelings.” Once we understand “love” to be primarily an “action” taken to meet the needs of another rather than a “feeling” intended for personal fulfillment … this excuse melts away.
4. “He/She is not the person I married.” I either didn’t really know my spouse or could not have anticipated this change of character.
3. “He/She is unfortunately still the person I married.” I thought I could change my spouse, but I was wrong. People warned me that WYSIWYG … but I thought I could reform him/her.
2. “Irreconcileable differences” – The beauty of this rationalization is that you don’t have to be pinned down to any specifics. The root problem comes down to an unwillingness to “bear with all things” and to extend forgiveness and acceptance.
1. The reason that takes the cake and inspired this column was the quote in the Washington Times regarding the reported breakup between Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell after 21 years of romantic liaison: The purported explanation: the relationship has “lost its zip” lately. That was a new one for me! How selfish is that?
The sad reality is that many Christians blindly congratulate themselves on not violating this basic command of Christ regarding relationships while missing the heart of God on the necessity for inward moral purity and loyalty in marriage. Whenever Christ interpreted the law of God, He focused on the higher standard of heart obedience rather than on the legalistic aspect of external conformity. But make no mistake, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”